Nashville is Africa

This is Courtney, again.  I guess my original TIA Friday has been changed to TIA whatever day I feel like writing.

I’m kind of scared to move on from Africa. I’m afraid that if I decide to move on that I’ll inadvertently forget. I have all of the same questions and fears I have had when I’ve experienced a death. Do I stay sad forever? Do I move on? If I move on does that mean I’ll forget? How do I move on without forgetting?

I’m starting to see that just as in the grieving process, I can move on and still remember. In fact, moving on is healthy and remembering is necessary. It’s important to do both. In the times I’ve lost someone close to me, I’ve done this by finding that person in different ways and by seeing them in things that I never had before. It’s been so easy thus far to be sad, to miss everything about Uganda, to hate America, to want so badly to be back in Uganda with my friends. I have been stuck in missing Africa so much that I’ve been missing opportunities to find Africa in America.

People used to ask Mother Teresa all the time if they could come join the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. This is what she would tell them:

Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right there where you are- in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools. You can find Calcutta all over the world, if you have the eyes to see. Everywhere, wherever you go, find people who are unwanted, unloved, uncared for just rejected by society- completely forgotten, completely left alone.

I think this is the answer to the questions I’ve been struggling with.

I don’t need to be in Africa to serve Jesus. I don’t need to be in Africa to love the least of these. I don’t need to be in Africa to feed the hungry. I don’t need to be in Africa to hang out with the homeless. I don’t need to be in Africa to love on people who have AIDS. I don’t need to be in Africa because Africa is right here, in Nashville. If only I have the eyes to see it.

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